Books Like Liar

Some of the people who enjoyed Liar have started telling me that they want to read something else like it. I’m not sure what to tell them. I can’t recommend one of my other novels because they bear no resemblance to Liar and readers would just be disappointed.

Here are three novels that people have compared to Liar:

  • Jacqueline Woodson’s If You Come Softly. This is hugely flattering. Softly is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I think Liar has some of the emotional intensity of Softly and it shares an NYC setting—with Central Park playing a key role in both novels. If Liar evokes New York City even half as well, then I’ve done a bang up job, haven’t I? This book will not satisfy the urge to battle with an unreliable narrator, however. Though it will gut you.
  • Roger Cormier’s I am the Cheese. If I have read this it was so very long ago that I don’t remember it. Maybe someone will say what the points of similarity are in the comments? NO SPOILERS.
  • John Marsden’s Letters from the Inside. Again I haven’t read it. All I know is that it features not one, but two, unreliable narrators. I can tell you, though, that the Marsden books I have read I’ve liked a lot.

Anyone got any other suggestions for Liar read alikes? Thank you!


  1. JanetL on #

    It’s not YA, but Sarah Waters’ most recent novel, “The Little Stranger” has some parallels with Liar, none of which I can discuss without revealing major spoilers. Loved it.

  2. Zeborah on #

    Letters from the Inside would indeed be a good one; I recommend it.

    One of the earliest examples of an unreliable narrator I know is Antoine Prévost’s Histoire d’Une Grecque Moderne (History of a Modern Greek Woman) but the only English translation I know of was one my French lecturer did more or less just for the class. So, um. Also it’s really really not at all YA.

    Oh, if anyone wanted a YA unreliable narrator, but rather a lot more upbeat and a completely different setting (fantasy version of ancient Greece-ish plus guns so not that ancient really), you’d probably really like Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief and sequels. They make me go squee a lot, and my fingers itch impatiently when I think how long it is until the next one comes out.

  3. jen on #

    ? It has been a long time since I read it, but I might put Tribes, by Arthur Slade, in a category with Liar — because what we think the narrator is telling us turns out to not quite be true…
    reflecting on books I’ve read this year, Liar is one of the best!

  4. Lu on #

    For the unreliable narrator, how about We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson? Supremely unreliable and also has some of the creepiness of Liar, but in a different setting. I think it would appeal to readers of Liar for sure. I bet all of your readers would adore Octavia Butler as well.

  5. Sarah on #

    I honestly haven’t read Liar yet, but I Am The Cheese by Robert Cormier is still one of my favorite books. I first read it as a teenager, and I’m 37 now. The book still gives me chills. I Am The Cheese is spooky, heartbreaking, and puzzling. Cormier gives you story interspersed with source documents, and you have to figure it out yourself. What an amazing book. I’m falling back on adjectives to describe it without any spoilers, but I thoroughly recommend to any reader.

  6. Doret on #

    I am reaching with this suggestion but its not a leap. Its also a great series

    Kiss Me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson – I reviewed books 1 &2 back to back on my blog. Its probably the first and last time I will do that

    I think fans of Liar will like it because its a mystery. The MC, Scarlett starts out on the outside of the popular kids. Somehow she ends up at a party with the IT GUY. He dies after they kiss. Everyone blames Scarlett, who is determined to find out what really happened.

    I think fans of Liar will appreciate the time and care Henderson takes developing Scarlett.

  7. JanetL on #

    Second the suggestion of We Have Always Lived in the Castle, definitely.

    An Instance of the Fingerpost, by Ian Pears, tells the same story four times with different, and differently unrelaible (that is, unreliable in different ways and for different reasons), narrators. Also not YA, and a massive historical (17th century) time, so not everyone’s cup of tea. I heard an interview with the author in which he said, if I’m remembering right, that the final narrator *is* reliable, which I think is kind of cheating, but I figure it’s my right as a reader to distrust the narrator if I want.

  8. PixelFish on #

    A third for We Have Always Lived In the Castle.

  9. lalibrarylady86 on #

    I was one of the ones who suggested “I Am the Cheese” by Robert Cormier and in doing so, indicate my age. I just pulled my battered copy off the shelf and here are some blurbs:
    School Library Journal’s Best Book of the Year, 1977
    An Outstanding Book of the Year – The New York Times
    “Simply one of the best novels…this year” – Newsweek
    “A bike-ride through a Twilight Zone” – The Kirkus Reviews

    Mrs. Larbalestier, I hope that gives you some idea of how highly I thought of “Liar”. For me, “I Am the Cheese” was the first book to ever make me realize not everything adults say is the truth and deciding who and what to trust as “fact” – even the author – can be treacherous. That’s really all I can say without spoilers. Don’t read any book summaries; it’s better that way.

  10. Zara on #

    Thanks for this! I’ve been looking for something to read, and this should do me for a while.

  11. Susan on #

    During the discussion of DNA and the science behind things that are happening, I thought of Peeps.

  12. Joe on #

    Dan Simmons’ Drood has an unreliable narrator in the form of Wilkie Collins. It’s a huge book though. Maybe you’ll want the abridged audio version or wait for the movie.

  13. Susan Loyal on #

    I’ll third or fourth or whatever We Have Always Lived in the Castle, but I think that readers who love Liar might also like Wuthering Heights. The narrator is unreliable, although in a subtle way. The setting is variously perceived by the characters, and there’s a love story that’s not traditionally happy. And the heroine feels confined by the circumstances of her life.

  14. LaurieA-B on #

    I read the Behind You (sequel to If You Come Softly) first, and yes, it gutted me. Both books are so excellent.

  15. Arianna on #

    Identical by Ellen Hopkins is one that I would recommend.
    It’s not exactly the same style as Liar, but it is very close.

  16. Toby on #

    Anna Dusk’s In-human is mindblowing. Great gutsy female heroine, but also a lyrical style and all set in Tasmania.

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